Sermons

Introduction

A proper appreciation for and application of grace cannot be overstated. Even the early church struggled to consistently understand and apply grace.

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SERIES TITLE: The Trouble with Grace
TEXT: Acts 15
INTRODUCTION.

A proper appreciation for and application of grace cannot be overstated. Even the early church struggled to consistently understand and apply grace.

DISCUSSION.

If you grew up in a church, do you remember any extra-biblical rules that you were expected to follow? What were they?

EXAMINATION.  

VV.1-5 Why did this teaching bring about such a sharp debate? What is at stake?

  • What kinds of things would have been included in the ceremonial law? (See Mark 2:16-18; 7:1-5)
  • If you were an observant Jew, why would these rules be important to you?
  • If you were a Gentile convert, how would you feel about this requirement?

Vv.6-11 How would Peter’s experience in Acts 10 have shaped his thinking?

Vv.12-29 Why would James ask Gentile believers to abstain from these four things?

Vv.30-35 The information communicated in the letter brought gladness and encouragement to those who read it. Why?

APPLICATION.

  • One trouble with grace is that it accepts people who are different from me. How and when does that create problems? How do local churches avoid those kinds of problems? Is that right or wrong?
  • Another trouble with grace is it pushes me to consider others first. In what areas of local church life is it challenging to consider others before ourselves?

  • Which do you find more uncomfortable and why?
    • Limiting your freedom to keep from offending other believers?
    • Tolerating the behavior of others whose preferences are different than yours?
  • Can you think of any extra-biblical rules you have that hinder your fellowship with some other believers?
  • Why is it important that we don’t limit a local church to people who look, think, and act exactly like we do?
  • Fact: What is a key truth that you understood from this passage?
  • React: What did you feel?
  • Act: What are you going to do?

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